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Home Protect Climate Action Low Flows, Hot Trout
Low Flows, Hot Trout Print E-mail
Low Flows, Hot Trout Report Decades of data and observations point to a clear conclusion: the Clark Fork River is experiencing a very real shift in climate.  During the next 100 years, the shift is expected to accelerate, contributing to physical, ecological, social, and economic changes.  Our Low Flows, Hot Trout report delivers a plain-language synthesis of findings from years of data-gathering, covering what's happening now as well as outlining action items for the future.  View and download the full report.

The Facts: What's Happening in our Basin

Temperature: The watershed has become noticeably warmer since 1950.

Precipitation: More moisture is coming down as rain, not snow.

Stream Flow: Most rivers are experiencing earlier runoff in the spring.

Glaciers: Only 27 of an estimated 150 glaciers remain in Glacier National Park.

Forests: The combination of dense stands and warming temperatures is spurring massive pine beetle attacks that kill or weaken trees.

Fish: We could lose between 5 to 30% of trout habitat in western Montana over the next century.

Wildlife: As patches of alpine habitat shrink, disappear, or become fragmented, species like wolverine and Canada Lynx may disappear from the Clark Fork basin.

Mountain Pine Beetle: Beetles feed in phloem and introduce blue-staining fungi which in combination, girdle the tree.  Climate change has expanded the beetle's range, allowing it to live further north.

Actions Underway: Things Can Be Done to Make a Difference

Water Wise: Shifting our water use, even just slightly, is a logical step for western Montanans adapting to climate change.

Restoration: Complex management strategies are necessary on national and state lands as increased temperatures create more dense stands prone to insects, disease, and fire.

Homegrown Fuels: Montana is poised to take big steps towards a renewable energy future.

River Smart Growth: Rapid, unplanned development in our river valleys is one of the biggest contributors to local greenhouse gas emissions, and one of the biggest drains on our basin's water and other resources.

Policies on the Horizon: Large-scale Changes to Stimulate the Environment and Economy

Western Climate Initiative: Montana joined six other western states and two Canadian provinces in agreeing to reduce our combined greenhouse gas emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.

Renewable Energy Standards: Montana was the first state in the Northwest to adopt a renewable energy standard.  Investor-owned utilities must supply 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2015.

Clean and Green Tax Initiatives: The 2007 legislature passed tax breaks for producers of bio-diesel, solar, and wind power, as well as manufacturers of renewable energy components.

Climate Change Advisory Committee: Established by Governor Schweitzer, this committee released 54 recommendations in 2007 for specific actions Montana can take to reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.